Herald of the High King
“I need the urinal.”
Lukka had opened the door. As he did so the pair of palace guards leapt to face him. Arms out-stretched, their long spears resting on the stone floor, barring his way. At rest but forming a visible barrier to him leaving the room. It felt like they were facing him down. Preventing him from leaving. As he had suspected.
“A pisspot in the corner. In the cupboard,” they answered.
Lukka already knew that. He did not need to go. But he’d been left waiting in that bare room for hours, it seemed. Bored, he’d explored the small cell thoroughly. He’d tried the other doors. The huge double-door embossed with iron bands was locked. The cupboard in the corner had held a pot and nothing else. Lukka had got bored. Opening the outer door he’d expected to find palace guards outside. But the wariness with which they had greeted him opening the door .. their spears as good as barring his exit .. that had only confirmed his gut-feelings. A sense that something here was not right.
Lukka had nodded. He’d shut the door behind him. This time, before he’d even got back to his perch on the throne, he heard a bolt slide across the door. He was locked in. A prisoner. No longer the High King’s herald, it seemed. No more pretence. Probably the Trojans were planning to use him as a hostage against Agamemnon. Nothing too surprising in that.
If only they knew, though …… he had not told them he was just some mercenary. Just a Hittite captain sent as herald from the Greek High King. If the Trojans thought they could use him for leverage, Lukka was in no doubt they were wrong. Agamemnon could have sent any number of Greek nobility with this offer of peace. He hadn’t. Agamemnon couldn’t afford to lose some Greek king. A Hittite officer, Lukka — that was dispensable.
Now Lukka had seen her with his own eyes he had to wonder. The most beautiful woman in the world? So-called. And indeed Helen was more beautiful than any words Lukka could ever find to describe her. Her eyes, looking at her new husband Prince Paris, seemed to light up Priam’s throne room. They looked deeply in love .. and the pair made a handsome couple. Paris too was uncommonly manly. Fit, athletic in build. And Lukka knew from the battles, he was a brave fighter too. From his first sight of Helen, Paris was smitten .. that had started off this long devastating war.
This woman over whom the world had gone mad .. seduced away from her husband by a handsome young Trojan prince. Agamemnon was incensed, Helen’s husband was his brother. In response, Greece had risen up in arms to bring her back. The Trojans, though, suspected Helen was just a political excuse. Agamemnon wanted Troy destroyed. Their city guarded the entrance to the Black Sea .. controlling access to trade and the wealth and grain there.
Lukka was a soldier, no prince, no interest in such things, a newcomer to politics. He had sold his sword to the Greeks. For money, for plunder, for wealth. He could equally have taken the Trojans’ coin if it had turned out that way. What did all this politicking have to do with him?
But in her presence, close-by her near-divine-like being Lukka could see what the world was fighting over. Helen was radiant. And she knew it. No other woman in that court was wearing a shift of the sheerest white. Helen dressed for effect. That simple garment needed no adornment. It hid nothing. Her natural charms were tantalising visible underneath.
Lukka had not been proper with a woman in months. Even those damned Greek whores raised the price when a foreigner popped up. Stood as King Agamemnon’s herald in the Trojan throne room, it had been hard to keep his eyes to himself. His gaze had great trouble in being guided away from the sight of Helen’s breasts clearly visible through that sheer white robe. The coin-sized nipples as brown as Helen’s eyes, winking beguiling.
Her face was a Wonder of the World. No wonder Menelaus wanted her back. And no surprise that Paris was planning on hanging on to her.